Birth Certificates

As stated in the first post, the purpose of this blog is to serve as a log or journal of my family history research.  Before I describe the first few encouraging steps I have taken on my genealogical quest for knowledge, I feel the need to detail the background information I have gathered informally over time.  I guess that should be expected from someone who is interested in researching her family history – how can I tell you about where I am without describing the events that brought me here?

In the 8th grade one of my teachers arranged a potluck in which each student was to bring in a dish from their culture and explain where it came from. When I asked my mom why our Panamanian family eats fried plantains (pronounced plantin’ NOT plantanes, thank you), she talked about how everyone in Panama eats plantain.  As some sort of afterthought she mentioned that that her grandparents, who were from St. Lucia and Martinique, and my father’s grandparents, who were from Barbados and Jamaica, came from countries where plantain was also widely consumed. 

This was the first time I had ever heard of most of these places in any context, let alone in my own family tree!  Continue reading

I am the diaspora

(I figure that the web address “iamthediaspora” might need some explaining…)

One of the reasons I looked forward to starting my postsecondary education at Pomona College was the opportunity to take a class I had seen in the course catalog: Professor Sidney Lemelle’s “Slavery and Freedom in the New World”.  I remember shyly approaching Dr. Lemelle when I came to visit the campus as a hopeful and clueless high school senior.  He explained that the course had something to do with this thing called the African diaspora. I wasn’t quite sure what this “diaspora” business was, but I walked away with the understanding that this class covered the experiences of blacks both in and outside of the United States.  And for me, this was HUGE.  Continue reading